The end of October already? I’ve watched leaves change colors and children get dressed up in adorable costumes (all via Facebook). I’ve watched my Pinterest get covered in all manner of apple, butternut, and pumpkin things. And of course, I’ve read some books. I also took a fabulous pilgrimage (that’s what I’m calling my vacation) to some food and literary places that I can’t wait to tell you about. But unfortunately, that’s a post for November.
While we’re on the cusp of that, though, here’s a look at My Reading Month.
Currently Reading at Time of Publication
On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss.
October was a fun month. That’s the word I’m choosing to describe it: definitively fun. I did some traveling back to Virginia, where I was a presenter at the ODU Literary Festival, and I don’t know what it is about a Kindle book and a cross-country plane ride, but I just tear through books. And when they’re this fun, it’s even more tempting to do so.
- Of Things Gone Astray by Janina Matthewson. This was a digital review copy (it’ll be out in March 2015), and it was a tie for my favorite book that I read this month. This book features a cast of characters for whom things have gone astray. A woman wakes to find the front wall of her house missing. A pianist goes to his studio, only to discover the keys to his piano have disappeared. A directionless woman literally loses her sense of direction. Loves, jobs, and memories are all lost, and it’s a race to either find them before the damage is complete, or acclimate to this new, lost life. This book was quirky and full of strong characters – make sure you check it out in March.
- My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff. And here we are, the CA –> VA leg of my reading binge. I read this in one airplane ride. I was dazed at the end, but it was lovely. Rakoff’s first job after college was as a secretary at a venerable literary agency, the one that represented J.D. Salinger. As she sorts out her own life, she gets to know the book business, Salinger’s work, and her own path towards the future. A great, bookish coming-of-age memoir.
- Rooms by Lauren Oliver. And this book took me from VA –> CA. I didn’t do this in one sitting, alas, but I feel like I could have. This book tells the story of a dysfunctional family who has come to the estranged father’s house after his death to sort through his belongings. Twist? The house is haunted by the ghosts of previous inhabitants. The drama of the afterlife meets the drama of the here and now, and I couldn’t put it down.
- Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward. You guys. This book is raw, and rough, and yet so tender. As Hurricane Katrina bears down on the Mississippi coast, this family – three boys, one pregnant girl, and their alcoholic father – try to survive and prepare, all the while negotiating love and loss and hope. This book made me uncomfortable in ways that I thought were valuable and important.
- 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas by Helene-Marie Bertino. This book was the other tie for favorite read of the month. Musical, kinetic, quirky, and so scrappy, this book was funny and wild and also takes place over a span of about 16 hours, which is downright impressive. I’m recommending it to everyone. So, you know, read it.
I usually include a few articles, but truthfully, there’s only one I want to talk about, and I think it’s for another post, all on its own, about food and excess and identity. (I mean, aren’t I always yammering on about food and identity?) So for now, there’s My Reading Month. You read anything good that you want to recommend?